Ethics In Advertising: Kants Categorical Imperatives Assessment Answer

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Question :

Restate your ethical question from Assignment 1 Part A on page 1 of Assignment 1 Part B. You can modify the precise wording of your ethical question drawing on feedback provided in Assignment 1 Part A.

a)  Identify the act central to your ethical question.
(Note: you are analysing the ethics of this specific act.) Remember: You are now adopting non-consequential analysis. In Assign 1A you were using consequential theory. You can summarize the two in the conclusion (part e).

(1 mark- Marking Criteria: Understand concepts)

b)  Identify 2 virtues relevant to the morality of the act central to your specific ethical question. Define each virtue in no more than one sentence. 

For example:  select 2 of these virtues  

Honesty and integrity.

Fairness and transparency

Accountability and responsibility

Human dignity and social justice

Other virtues are possible!! You can combine them as it is useful to you. The virtues must be inherent to the 'good' ethical value you want to demonstrate with your act central (poin a, before)!
(2 marks- Marking Criteria: Understand concepts, Apply theory)
c) Discuss the morality of the act central to your ethical question by comparison with your 2 chosen virtues. 
(2 marks- Marking Criteria: Apply theory, Analyse and interpret information)

d)  Apply Kant’s categorical imperative by completing the following tasks. You need to support any yes/no answers with reasons. Try to follow the 6 steps literally, even if they seem to lead your judgement towards non-ethical result. When you arrive at the point of self-contraddiction you can readjust the act as being completely ethical or non-ethical!

1) Define a specific rule which authorises the act central to your ethical question. 

(2 marks- Marking Criteria: Apply theory)

2) Define the general rule which authorises the act central to your ethical question.

(1 mark- Marking Criteria: Apply theory)

3)  the general rule inherently self-contradictory? Why or why not?

(2 marks- Marking Criteria: Critical thinking)

4) Does the general rule violate Kant’s practical imperative or any of Kant’s other absolute moral rules? Kant general rule was: “treat others the way in which you wish to be treated”. Use this to test your own ethical act!

(2 marks- Marking Criteria: Apply theory, Understand concepts)

5) Is the general rule contrary to its fundamental purpose?

(1 mark- Marking Criteria: Critical thinking)

6) Is the act ethical according to Kant’s ethical system?

(2 marks- Marking Criteria: Apply theory)

e)  Provide an ethical conclusion by comparing your conclusions from the act utilitarian analysis in Assignment 1 Part A, your virtue ethics and Kantian analyses in Assignment 1 Part B, and drawing on your own ethical conscience.  [which means that all 3 theories have to appear here!!!]

A personal note: try to keep separate and distinct the virtues that are 'general' from those that are individual. In Kant's theory there is no space for the individual unless it is related to mankind. i.e. “society”. So choose well the words, the 2 virtues and provide a general (not genralized) act at the beginning!!

(5 marks- Marking Criteria: Apply theory, Understand concepts, Analyse and interpret information, Clarity of language)

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Answer :

Ethics in advertising


The assignment deals in identifying and evaluating the regulations that are applicable to ethical marketing practices in Australia. It also deals in evaluating the regulations on the basis of Kant's categorical imperatives.

a. Act Central to the ethical question

It is equally important for professionals to deliberately apply ethics and ethical practices in their framework of operation. The act central to this project is the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 and Privacy Amendment Act 2012 which regulates the competition, fairness of operation and the services received by the consumers while providing the marketers with a free cache to operate independently within the ambit of company law and regulations (Murphy et al, 2019).

b. 2 virtues related to morality

The two virtues relevant to morality is the Honesty and Integrity and Accountability and Responsibility. The honesty and integrity mean the marketers must be truthful and honest in all their dealings with the customers. They must not omit or conceal any details to gain any undue advantage or incur losses to the consumer. The accountability and responsibility mean that the marketers must also take liability for the goods and services sold to the consumers and protect the consumers from deceitful dealings (Paul, 2019).

c. The morality of the act

The consumer protection law ensures that the buyers are protected from any harmful and deliberate misleading by the marketers. If the marketers are honest, then they are offering what the product actually is and hence will be within the law for the consumers to choose at their discretion. However, if any problems arise, the marketer would assume full responsibility for it and can work to rectify any potential but unintentional damages to the consumer (Palmer, 2017).

d. Kant’s categorical imperative

1. Kant's First Formulation or the Formula of Universal Law authorises the act. It states that We must ourselves not do any action which we do not expect others to do universally or to us. Thus, we as marketers must work diligently to provide services to the consumers which we expect the standard of products should be in the market for the goods and services sold (Kohl, 2019).

2. The general rule is that we, the marketers are also consumers of various products. As such, if dualism exists in the marketing, then it is more likely to affect us as the consumers too which is unwanted. Thus maintaining an ethical approach would ensure market elevation and better business practices for consumers as well as the business (Robinson, 2019).

3. The general rule is inherently self-contradictory as we always expect the products and services sold to us must be what it claims to be. But the marketers often hide certain details and information from the public to boost sales or business. But the marketers themselves would be annoyed if the same deceiving is done to them by other marketers of other products. Thus, the marketers must ask themselves if it is ethical to dupe consumers themselves but expect honesty while they turn consumers. So, it is self-contradictory.

4. The general does not violate the practical imperative of Kant. It is because the consumers do not expect the marketers to operate dishonestly and the marketers sometimes do so for various reasons. The marketers while buying products also expect the same of their salesman. But it is not possible to expect so as the dualism of ethics has been followed by the marketer and must also receive treatment all the same as other customers. Thus, the marketer must practice Kant's general rule of treating people just the way they want themselves to be treated.

5. The general rule is not contrary to its fundamental purpose. As it so happens, the general rule enforces the fundamental purpose of instilling ethics and ethical practices in our operation. Ethical practices are not simply rules to be followed but require an objective approach different each time the marketers deal with the consumers (Robinson, 2019). Thus, they must ask themselves the question if this is how they would want themselves to be treated every time.

6. The act is ethical to some extent of Kant's ethical system. The act protects the consumers and marketers in certain boundary conditions. However, it must be said that the ambit of the acts are not particulars and thus the indiscretion of the marketers becomes much more relevant to the ethical practices adopted. Thus, Kant's ethical system is enforced through acts.

e. Ethical conclusion

The conclusion that can be drawn from it all is that although the acts and regulations are in place to enforce ethical standards of operation but are not defined elaborately. The marketers must not take advantage of such loopholes of the acts and laws for any undue benefit and cheat the customers of their rightful products or services. The discretion of the marketers must be critically judged while operating with the consumers and maintain ethical practices even if not defined by the laws in the context. Imperative and Moral Duties. In Imperfect Duties of Management (pp. 11-38). Palgrave Macmillan, Cham.